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The mango (plural mangoes or mangos) (Hindi:आम, Marathi:आंबा, Sanskrit:आम्र, Malayalam: manga) is a tropical fruit of the mango tree. Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera which consists of about 30 species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The exact origins of the mango are unknown, but most believe that it is native to Southern and Southeast Asia owing to the wide range of genetic diversity in the region and fossil records dating back 25 to 30 million years.
Mangoes retain a special significance in the culture of South Asia where they have been cultivated for millennia. It has been the national fruit of India, Bangladesh and Philippines. Reference to mangoes as the "food of the gods" can be found in the Hindu Vedas and the leaves are ritually used for floral decorations at Hindu marriages and religious ceremonies.
Additional recommended knowledge
The name 'mango' is from the Malayalam word manga which was introduced to Europe by the Portuguese from Calicut (Malabar Coast) in the late fifteenth Century.
Mango trees (Mangifera indica) reach 35-40 m in height, with a crown radius of 10 m. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15-35 cm long and 6-16 cm broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10-40 cm long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5-10 mm long, with a mild sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. After the flowers finish, the fruit takes from three to six months to ripen.
The mango fruit is a drupe; when mature, it hangs from the tree on long stems. They are variable in size, from 10-25 cm long and 7-12 cm diameter, and may weigh up to 2.5 kg. The ripe fruit is variably colored yellow, orange and red, reddest on the side facing the sun and yellow where shaded; green usually indicates that the fruit is not yet ripe, but this depends on the cultivar. When ripe, the unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous slightly sweet smell. In the center of the fruit is a single flat, oblong seed (as big as a large stone) that can be fibrous or hairless on the surface, depending on cultivar. Inside the shell, which is 1-2 mm thick, is a paper-thin lining covering a single seed, 4-7 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, 1 cm thick. One variety, recently available in Hong Kong is quite large compared to common ones as shown in the photo below.
Cultivation and uses
The mango is now widely cultivated as a fruit tree in frost-free tropical and warmer subtropical climates throughout the Indian subcontinent, North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, south and central Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. It is easily cultivated and there are now more than 1,000 cultivars, ranging from the "turpentine mango" (named for its strong taste of turpentine, which according to the Oxford Companion to Food some varieties actually contain) to the huevos de toro (literally "eggs of the bull", a euphemism for "bull's testicles", referring to the shape and size). The mango is reputed to be the most commonly eaten fresh fruit worldwide. Mangos also readily naturalize in tropical climates. Some lowland forests in the Hawaiian Islands are dominated by introduced mangos, and it is a common backyard fruit tree in South Florida where it has also escaped from cultivation.
The mango is a popular fruit with people around the world. However, many mango farmers receive a low price for their produce. This has led to mangoes being available as a fair trade item in some countries.
The pigment euxanthin, usually known as Indian yellow, is often described as having been produced from the urine of cows fed on mango leaves; the practice is described as having been outlawed in 1908 after having been found to cause malnutrition in the cows . However, Victoria Finlay has shown that these descriptions of the pigment's origin all rely on a single anecdotal source, that there exist no other records of the pigment being produced in such a fashion, and that Indian legal records do not mention any such practice ever being outlawed. As such, the viability of the pigment's production from mango-leaf-fed cows is unknown.
Usage as food
The fruit flesh of a ripe mango is very sweet, with a unique taste. The texture of the flesh varies markedly between different cultivars; some have quite a soft and pulpy texture similar to an over-ripe plum, while others have a firmer flesh much like that of a cantaloupe or avocado, and in some cultivars the flesh can contain fibrous material. Mangoes are very juicy; the sweet taste and high water content make them refreshing to eat.
Mangoes are widely used in chutney, which in the West is often very sweet, but in the Indian subcontinent is usually made with sour, raw mangoes and hot chilis or limes. In India, ripe mango is often cut into thin layers, desiccated , folded, and then cut and sold as bars that are very chewy. These bars, known as amavat or halva in Hindi, are similar to dried guava fruit bars available in Colombia. In many parts of India, people eat squeezed mango juice (called Ras), the thickness of which depends on the type of mango, with variety of bread items and is part of the meal rather than a dessert. Many people like to eat unripe mangoes (which are extremely sour; much more than lemon) with salt, and in regions where food is hotter, with salt and chili.
The fruit is also widely used as a key ingredient in a variety of cereal products, in particular muesli and oat granola.
In the Philippines, unripe mango is eaten with bagoong. Dried strips of sweet, ripe mangoes have also gained popularity both inside and outside the country, with those produced in Cebu making it to export markets around the world. Guimaras island is also a major producer of mangoes in the Philippines, with a local variety that is reputed to be the sweetest among mango varieties.
In other parts of South-east Asia, mangoes are very popular pickled with fish sauce and rice vinegar.
Mango is also used to make juices, both in ripe and unripe form. Pieces of fruit can be mashed and used in ice cream; they can be substituted for peaches in a peach (now mango) pie; or blended with milk and ice to make thick milkshakes. In Thailand and other South East Asian countries, sweet glutinous rice is flavoured with coconut then served with sliced mango on top as a dessert.
Dried unripe mango used as a spice and is known as amchur (sometimes spelled amchoor) in India and ambi in Urdu. Aam is a Hindi/Urdu word for mango.
Note: The Sweet Bell Pepper (capsicum) was once known as mango in parts of the midwestern United States  With the advent of fresh fruit importers exposing individuals to the tropical fruit, the colloquial use of this alternative name for the Sweet Bell Pepper has become archaic, although occasionally midwestern menus will still offer stuffed mangoes as an entree.
Eating Ripe Fruit
1. Remove mango cheeks one at a time with a sharp knife by slicing as close to the single large seed in the middle as possible.
2. One can then use a spoon to eat the mango meat directly from the cut cheeks, or using the "hedgehog method", follow the next two steps
3. Score 3 or 4 lines vertically down each cheek and 3 or 4 lines horizontally to form a hatched pattern. Take care not to cut through the skin.
4. Firmly hold both edges of the fruit and turn the cheek inside out.
When ripe, the mango feels soft when given a gentle squeeze and when a sweet, fragrant scent emanates from the stem-end of the fruit.
Medicinal and nutritional properties
The mango is an excellent nutritional source, containing many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as enzymes such as magneferin and lactase which aid in digestion and intestinal health. It is also used in some parts of southeast Asia and the Muslim world as a supplement for sexual potency.
The mango is in the same family as poison sumac and contains urushiol, though much less than poison sumac. Some people get dermatitis from touching mango peel or sap. While the peel is typically considered inedible, recent study has shown that it yields considerable extracts that can be used in antioxidant food supplements. Consuming the peel itself is generally not advised as a painful rash or swelling may appear on the lips and face, particularly to persons allergic to urushiol. The wood should not be burned as inhalation can be dangerous, nor should the wood be used to smoke foods.
Production and consumption
India is by far the largest producer, with an area of 16,000 km² with an annual production of 10.8 million tonnes, which accounted for 57.18% of the total world production. Within India, the southern state of Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of Mangoes, with 3,500 km² under cultivation (2004 data). In the country's north, Uttar Pradesh state dominates the mango production tables.
Alphonso and Kesar mango varieties are considered among the best mangoes in India. Alphonso is grown exclusively in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, the Alphonso mango that is commonly exported. Alphonso is named after Afonso De Albuquerque, who reputedly brought the drupe on his journeys to Goa. The locals took to calling this Aphoos in Konkani and in Maharashtra the pronunciation got further corrupted to Hapoos. This variety then was taken to the Konkan region of Maharashtra and other parts of India. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states in the south, Gujarat in western India, and Uttar Pradesh in the north are major producers of pickle-variety mangoes and specialize in making a variety of mango pickles. These pickles can be very spicy, and tend to have large regional differences in taste.
Generally, once ripe, mangoes are quite juicy and can be very messy to eat. However, those exported to temperate regions are, like most tropical fruit, picked under-ripe. Although they are ethylene producers and ripen in transit, they do not have the same juiciness or flavour as the fresh fruit. A ripe mango will have an orange-yellow or reddish skin. To allow a mango to continue to ripen after purchase, it should be stored in a cool, dark place, but not in a refrigerator as this will slow the ripening process.
Ripe mangoes are extremely popular throughout Latin America. In Mexico, sliced mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. Street vendors sometimes sell whole mangoes on a stick, dipped in the chili-salt mixture. In Indonesia, green mango is sold by street vendors with sugar and salt and/or chili. Green mango may be used in the sour salad called rujak in Indonesia, and rojak in Malaysia and Singapore. In Guatemala, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, small, green mangoes are popular; they have a sharp, brisk flavour like a Granny Smith apple. Vendors sell slices of peeled green mango on the streets of these countries, often served with salt. In Hawai'i it is common to pickle green mango slices. Ayurveda considers ripe mango sweet and heating, balancing all the three doshas(humors) and acts as an energizer.
Pakistani varieties of mango include Chaunsa, Sindhri, Qalmi, Langra, Desi, Dusehri and Anwar Latore, most of which are produced in the areas of Multan Division and Sindh province. While these types of mangoes are well known in their tastes and smells within the country, they have not yet received a lot of exposure abroad.
Raw mangoes are used in making pickles and condiments due to its peculiar sweet and sour taste. Dried and powdered raw mango is sometimes also used as a condiment in Indian cuisine.
Many hundreds of named mango cultivars exist. In mango orchards, several cultivars are often intermixed to improve cross-pollination. In Maharashtra, the most common cultivar is Alphonso (known in Asia under the original name, Hapoos). Alphonso is very popular outside Indian subcontinent and one of the important export product of India. The best Alphonso mangos are reputed to come from the town of Ratnagiri and Devgad in Maharashtra. In Uttar Pradesh, Dasheri from Lucknow is famous for its aroma. Langra from Varanasi in eastern UP is another variety which is extremely sought after for its fine flavour and aroma, but is not suitable for export because of the perishable nature. Banganapalli (also called Banesha or Began Phali) of Andhra Pradesh is one of the most sought after cultivars. Maldah is one of the most sought after cultivars in Bihar. Notably, cultivars which excel in one climate fail to achieve their potential in other climates. Thus the cultivar Julie, a Jamaican favourite, and Alphonso have never found great success in South Florida, Israel or Australia.
Currently, the world market is dominated by the cultivar Tommy Atkins, a seedling of Haden which first fruited in 1940 in Southern Florida, USA. Despite being initially rejected commercially by Florida researchers, Tommy Atkins quickly became an export favourite worldwide. For example, 80% of mangos in UK supermarkets are Tommy Atkins. Despite its fibrous flesh and fair taste, growers world-wide have embraced the cultivar for its exceptional production and disease resistance, the shelf-life of its fruit, their transportability as well as their size and beautiful color. Tommy Atkins is predominant in the USA as well, although other cultivars, such Kent, Keitt, the Haitian grown Madame Francis and the Mexican grown Champagne are widely available.
In urban areas of southern Florida, small gardens, or lack thereof, have fueled the desire for dwarf Mango trees. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has led the charge for the "condo mango" by identifying cultivars which can be productive while maintained at a height below 2-2.5 m.
A list of additional leading cultivars can be found at the cultivar list link in the external links below.
There is an Australian variety of mango known as R2-E2, a name based on the orchard row location of the original plant.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mango". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|